The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron's last QF-4 Phantom takes off from the runway on 27 May 2015 marking the end of almost 20 years of its use at Tyndall. (Image © Senior Airman Alex Echols US Air Force)

Phantom farewell (again)

Again a goodbye to the legendary McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet that has rocked many of the world’s air spaces since the 1970s. This time the farewell is at Tyndall AFB in Florida USA, where the final QF-4 aerial target took off on 27 May 2015 – after the type has served for 20 years at the base.

Luftwaffe McDonnell Douglas F-4F Phantom II 37+01, the ever first of the type delivered to the German Air Force, performing a high-speed pass of Wittmundhafen, Germany (Image © Marcel Burger)
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The rather sad faith of these particular Phantom version was sealed about 30 minutes ago, when the two QF-4s that took off remotely-controlled by people at the ground station were destroyed in mid-air by fighter jocks flying other aircraft.

Tyndall’s QF-4 program initially started in 1997 and the destruction of the last two QF-4s marks its replacement with the QF-16 Falcon. Like the QF-4, the QF-16 is a full-scale aerial target that can be flown manned or unmanned. Unlike the QF-4, the QF-16 has all the capabilities of a newer generation aircraft.

“We get much more maneuverability out of it, and essentially we have a fully capable F-16 Falcon,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, 82nd ATRS director of operations. “It can pull 9 G’s, go supersonic and climb up to 55,000 ft. just like the front line fighters. We now have that as a target.”

Source: US Air Force
Featured image: The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron’s last QF-4 Phantom takes off from the runway on 27 May 2015 marking the end of almost 20 years of its use at Tyndall. (Image © Senior Airman Alex Echols US Air Force)